Variability and patterning in permanent tooth size of four human ethnic groups.

International Collaborating Centre in Oro-facial Genetics and Development, University of Liverpool, School of Dental Sciences, Daulby Street, Liverpool L69 3GN, UK.
Archives of oral biology (Impact Factor: 1.65). 01/2009; 54 Suppl 1:S79-85. DOI: 10.1016/j.archoralbio.2008.12.003
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Dental dimensions vary between different ethnic groups, providing insights into the factors controlling human dental development. This paper compares permanent mesiodistal crown diameters between four ethnic groups highlighting patterns of tooth size between these groups and considers the findings in relation to genetic and environmental influences.
Mesiodistal crown dimensions were recorded using standardised manual measurements on dental casts derived from four different human populations: Southern Chinese, North Americans of European ancestry, Modern British of European ancestry and Romano-British. Analyses based on double determinations showed that measurements in all study samples were reliable to an accuracy of 0.1mm. The Southern Chinese sample was found to have the largest teeth overall, whereas the Romano-British sample generally displayed the smallest mesiodistal crown dimensions (p<0.001). However, the Modern British sample had the largest maxillary central incisors, mandibular central and lateral incisors, and mandibular canines, while the North American sample had the largest maxillary first and second molars. Comparisons of coefficients of variation for teeth within each class showed that the later-forming teeth displayed greater variation in mesiodistal size than the earlier-forming teeth.
The different patterns of tooth size observed between the study samples are thought to reflect differences in the relative contributions of genetic, and environmental influences to dental development between the four populations. For example, it is proposed that major environmental insults during the early life of Romano-Britons, including recurrent illnesses, poor nutrition and excessive lead ingestion, contributed to the reduction in size and greater variability of their later-forming teeth. Using a standardised methodology, significant differences in mesiodistal crown diameters have been demonstrated between four human ethnic groups. There were also distinct differences in the patterns of crown size between the groups, with the later-forming teeth in each type generally showing greater size variation.

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